September 2016

This Week in the Mentor Program

Mentor Trauma Training: ARC, Part One -- Tuesday, Sept. 20th, 6 PM to 9 PM.

Monthly Mentor Support Meeting/Training -- Wednesday, Sept. 21, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Please RSVP to Lauren at if you have not already done so. Both trainings are at St. Vincent's Villa, 2600 Pot Spring Road, Timonium, MD 21093

Mentor Message Plus Matches Galore!

Dear Mentors,

September is a month of new beginnings -- a new school year begins and for the Therapeutic Mentoring Program we have 10 new matches ready to launch! Our population of youth are referred because they have special emotional and behavioral needs. We know, from the beginning of any match, there will be tough moments, but the hard work on your part will make success all the more precious. As you move through the early months of a match remember to "trust the process". Below are some great tips for both new and seasoned mentors.

1. First, just by spending time with the child, meaning being physically present each week, you are providing non-verbal affirmation and role-modeling. The way you speak, your manners, your eye contact and smiles, your calmness, and your gift of time, all have great power. Time spent equals trust being built.

2. Relax and “go with the flow”. This might seem counter-intuitive, but the details aren’t as important as the big picture. Replaying conversations in your mind and over analyzing after a visit may distract you from the big issue, which is how does your mentee feel while in your presence. Safe? Cared for? Listened to? Important? Special? What craft you did, or book you read are important, of course, but it’s the BIG picture that counts the most. Don’t fret or stress too much over the details.

3. Be patient. (I know you all are very patient!). The child might not be used to one-to-one attention and may seem a little shut down, which can be self-protective. The child will gradually begin to feel more comfortable spending time with you. Change will happen in spite of these initial worries.

4. Be realistic. Get to know your mentee’s needs and treatment goals. What’s realistic for this child? This may be the best she/he can do. What might seem like not so much progress on the surface might be a BIG change for this child. Exploring something new in the community with an adult and feeling safe could be huge for this child.

5. Keep coming back. Don’t get discouraged. Change happens slowly over time. Especially, if there are trust or attachment issues on the child’s part. These things can only be changed through experience (not promises) and are played out week after week. It takes a while to build enough positive experiences to over-ride negative experiences and hurt. And to build trust.

We thank each and every one of you for all that you do. You are helping to change the world, one child at a time. And that is HUGE.

Yours in Mentoring, Lauren

Assets Message -- The Empowerment Domain

Research shows that the more young people are valued and feel valuable, the more likely they are to grow up healthy and avoid risky behaviors, such as alcohol and other drug use, violence, and early sexual activity. Search Institute has identified four assets in the Empowerment Domain crucial for helping young people grow up healthy: Community Values Youth, Youth as Resources, Service to Others, and Safety. Mentors are in a unique position to strengthen these four assets. The very fact that you keep coming back is huge for your mentee and demonstrates how you value him/her (Asset # 7). Next, listen to your mentee's ideas and promote choices which builds confidence and helps your mentee feel useful (Asset #8). Thirdly, consider doing a volunteer service project with your mentee which provides a sense of social connectedness to others plus a positive feeling from helping others (Asset #9). Lastly, your consistent presence at role modeling a positive and healthy relationship increases a sense of safety in the world for your mentee (Asset #10). Perhaps, this quote sums up best the meaning of empowerment. Benjamin Disraeli says, "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own."

Question of the Month

Are there standardized, ethical principles for mentors? This is a great question because all mentoring relationships are certainly individualized and unique from the standpoint that the youth and adult will come with their own set of likes, dislikes, strengths, skills, interests, and personalities. However, when it comes to standardized ethical mentoring principles the answer is yes. Youth experts from the fields of clinical and community psychology and social work issued a publication in 2009 entitled, "First Do No Harm: Ethical Principles for Youth Mentoring Relationships." The five guiding principles include: 1) Promote the welfare and safety of the young person; 2) Be trustworthy and responsible; 3) Act with integrity; 4) Promote justice for young people; and 5) Respect the young person's rights and dignity. More is written about each of these principles with the research paper found here:


October Mentor Meeting/Support Group -- Thursday, October 20th, 6 PM to 7:30 PM

Special Guest: Mindy Leifer, Senior Therapist

Pre-Service Orientation -- Thursday, November 10th, 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Presented by the Volunteer Services Team for all new Mentor, Volunteers, and Interns

November Mentor Meeting/Support Group -- Monday, November 21, 6 PM to 7:30 PM

Special Guest: Christopher Donaldson, Spiritual Development Coordinator

All above events will be held at St. Vincent's Villa, 2600 Pot Spring Road, Timonium, Maryland 21093